19 Comments

Choosing and Checking Up on Your Doctor

By Elizabeth Thielke / Posted on 01 April 2009

Whether you are changing doctors, moving to a new area, or looking for a doctor for Mom or Dad, it’s important to choose a doctor who meets your needs and provides quality care.

Many people ask friends or family for recommendations, or they choose a doctor nearby who is on their health plan. However, there are also many online resources to help you to make the best choice possible by providing basic data on the skills and knowledge of licensed doctors in the United States.

Before you begin your search , it’s important to know what you need in a doctor. Some ideas to consider include choosing a doctor who:

1. is on my health plan
2. has experience with my condition
3. is permitted to practice at my hospital of choice
4. has a convenient office location and hours
5. is highly rated (be sure to consider the source of the ratings)
6. treats patients with respect, listens, and encourages questions
7. has appropriate certifications for his or her area of practice

After you’ve located potential doctors, here are resources to help you find out more detailed information:

National Committee for Quality (NCQA) Recognized Physician Directory – lists doctors who have demonstrated that they meet important standards of care.

American Medical Association (AMA) Doctor Finder – provides professional information on virtually every licensed physician in the United States

American Board of Medical Specialties – offers education, licensing, and board certification information about physicians.

Federation of State Medical Boards – is a recognized authority throughout the United States on issues related to medical licensure and discipline.

It’s also best to choose a doctor before you need one in an emergency situation in order to establish a lasting physician-patient relationship. Some careful research, along with the recommendations of friends and neighbors, will help you select the right doctor for you and your family.

- Elizabeth Thielke

There are 19 Comments about this post

  1. Kaye says,

    Thanks for an excellent article. I’m going to tweet it :) One other question we discovered when we moved – will they accept a new Medicare patient. We were very surprised to discover that many doctors limit the number of Medicare patients they accept. We finally found one we were happy with, but it did take extra research and time.

     

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